Building a Business with an Alaskan Mill with Daniel West of Big Ass Slabs

The Sawmill Business Podcast: Interview With Daniel West of Big Ass Slabs

In this episode, we are introduced to Daniel West of Big Ass Slabs Chainsaw, Milling & Timber works just outside London, Ontario, Canada. Daniel operates a 60 inch Granberg Alaskan sawmill plus a 48 inch model for smaller logs. He works with a local network of sawmills and furniture makers who each specialize in a particular aspect of the production chain.

How Daniel Got Into The Sawmill Business

Daniel has been running Big Ass Slabs for a year or so. Prior to that, he worked for a local farmer with an older Woodmeiser LP40 model. Daniel has 14 years worth of experience in sawing and now works for himself as part of his extended network in London, Ontario, Canada

What Chainsaw Milling Means To Daniel

For Daniel, chainsaw milling is an opportunity to make use of logs and trees normally used for firewood and produce stunning slabs from them. Through his work, Daniel helps protect the environment by making good use of potential waste material.

Why Daniel Chooses Granberg Products

Daniel prefers Granberg products for their portability and chose to use them after seeing other workers reaping their benefits. The simplicity and robustness of Granberg tools coupled with their durability make them a perfect fit for his work. Affordability also factored into the equation as Daniel was able to purchase all his necessary equipment for $5000

Training Taken By Daniel To Operate Alaskan Sawmill

Daniel drew on his years of experience operating a Woodmizer plus 25 years of using a chainsaw and cutting firewood. He took this applied knowledge and implemented it into the nuances of cutting slabs and the overall production process.

What Does The Granberg Brand Mean To Daniel?

For Daniel, Granberg has developed a reputation for producing equipment that is solid to operate, reliable and effectively simple. Having very little downtime is one praiseworthy aspect of Granberg Alaskan sawmills that Daniel mentions here.

Business Goals

Daniel’s goals include a sustainable income to support his family, growing his network of customers and providing a high-quality product that craftspeople can turn into beautiful heirloom items. Daniel wants to take the product from start to finish for potential customers and grow and complement each aspect of the cooperative businesses within his sphere.

How The Granberg Sawmill Makes Money For Daniel’s Business

The Granberg generates revenue for Daniel through custom sawing & milling and enables Daniel to procure and cut an inventory of slabs for sale throughout the year.

Daniel suggests more how-to videos from Granberg and a hand winch for the mill as two potential improvements. Daniel would like to have a better understanding of marketing and proper pricing for specific products along with targeting the right demographic. He has been able to grow his customer base using Facebook and Instagram and is currently working on a website. He is keen to learn more about leveraging these assets to best market his sawmill services to potential buyers.

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